I have much to share with you about God’s goodness and workings here in Hua Hin. One of my dearest friends, Jacqui, came from New Zealand to visit me. It was absolute bliss to hug her neck after being separated for over 2½ years because of COVID. During her visit, we had a lot of relaxing moments, dozens of heated Scrabble games, and some precious moments of ministry together. You can watch a short video of our distributing bags of fruit and snacks to 30 children at the Karen Orphanage in BaDang and to over 60 children in the PaleU village, where I hold ladies’ Bible studies sometimes. We found out the children at the orphanage were in need of mosquito nets to drape over their beds. Jacqui agreed to take care of that need, and I promised to return with them soon.
Two days after dropping Jacqui off at the Bangkok Airport, we celebrated Mother’s Day at church, with over 30 moms in attendance. It is always a blessing to share this special day with the girls in my Heavenly Treasures Orphan Project. Two days later, I hosted a group from FBMI, along with our American staff, in my home for dinner. We had a great time of fellowship and encouragement.
The next day, I went back to Bangkok to pick up my parents, who came for a six-week visit. What a joy it was to have them in my home and to be able to share my life and ministry with them. I especially enjoyed singing some special music together for church, going on visitation together, and listening to my dad preach, as he led the Bible study for several weeks on Wednesday nights. Our people mentioned numerous times to me what a blessing his teaching was to them. Goodbyes are never fun, but hopefully, it won’t be another three years before I get to see them again.
Our missionary pastor and his family are currently in the States on a five-month furlough. We are thankful for the safety the Lord has provided them so far and for the support they have been able to raise. The work here has continued on. It has been wonderful to see our Thai staff in action, as we have all picked up extra responsibilities during this time. What has really thrilled my heart is to see many of our church members seek to help serve and fill in gaps too. For the month of October, we ran a program we called “Our Jerusalem Project,” where we focused on reaching out into our community to bring people into the church. We had many get saved during this campaign, and the last two Sundays of the program were particularly remarkable. On the third Sunday of the program, we gave out 5kg bags of rice to first-time visitors. We had 172 first-time visitors, with 244 in attendance! The fourth and final week, we had 262 in attendance, and I had 55 in my Junior Church. Praise the Lord!
The Lord has been giving us a time of growth, and I have personally been able to lead over 30 children to the Lord through my Junior Church services in the past two months. This is a blessing since we were in the rainy season and often were not able to go out during our regularly scheduled soul-winning times because of the rain. I find, though, that the Lord always finds a way to let the people who are searching for the truth cross paths with those who know the truth and are willing to share it. I’m not the best example of this, by any means, and often chide myself for chickening out from trying to slip the Gospel into a conversation when I’m out and about or for not taking the time to ascertain if the Lord has me in a situation for a “such a time as this” moment, but God has graciously allowed me to see four different ladies saved recently while I was “busy” doing something else. I’ve included a bit of their stories on the next page.
1. Bow (standing to the left of me) – Jacqui and I took a trip a couple of hours south from where I live and visited one of the national parks where it is sometimes possible to catch sight of a wild elephant or two. While in the back of a pickup truck for our two-hour ride with our guide, I had the chance to witness to her. After many questions, she sweetly bowed her head and prayed as we bounced up and down on our way out of the forest. To add a cherry on top, the Lord graciously allowed us to see an entire family of elephants, which is super rare.
2. Gack – Just before Jacqui left to go home, we decided to get a massage. I was disappointed at first when they split us up into two different rooms but then thought that maybe the Lord was orchestrating an opportunity to have the freedom to witness to the lady doing my massage. We talked about a lot of things, and then the conversation took on a more personal note. She shared with me how she was abandoned by her husband before their child was born, how hard it had been to raise her daughter on her own, but how proud she was that her daughter was getting ready to finish university. She asked me why so many families in Thailand were broken up like this, and I had the opportunity to share with her that the family was the first institution that God designed and that it was a picture of our relationship with Him. I explained how Satan has always sought to destroy the family unit and had many victories in the families in Thailand. From there I shared the Gospel, and at some point, she started crying. When I shared the Bible verses about God’s plan of salvation, she asked me with such wonder if that meant that she could be saved from her sins too. What a precious thing it is to see the relief that floods someone’s face when they realize there is hope and that God loves them enough not to condemn them to Hell. She gladly trusted Christ as her Saviour.
3. Jeep – I recently decided it was time for a change for my hair, and after not darkening the doors of a hairdresser for literally years, I decided to visit Jeep’s shop because she came highly recommended for knowing how to cut foreigners’ hair. When I arrived for my appointment, I was surprised that there wasn’t another single person in the shop. She explained that her staff had taken some time off work, and I was her last appointment for the day. A 30-minute deep head massage and a color, cut, and style gave me ample time to share the Gospel with her, and before we were done, Jeep had trusted Christ as her Saviour.
4. Meow – One of my missionary friends told me of a lady who had a nail salon in her home but who also did home visits. I decided to give her a try. She arrived and set up her things, and over the course of the next hour and a half, we swapped stories. I was in awe of all she had been through. The youngest of three, she was orphaned at the age of six, passed around for the next seven years, and eventually given to a man at the age of 13 to be a dancer. She was forced to practice all day and dance long into the wee hours of the night for very little pay. When she was 15, her older brother was finally able to get her back, but she had been out of school too long to return, so she began working. At 16 she met a young man who loved her very much. They had gotten married over 10 years before and were still together with their 2 children. They are a super sweet couple and such a rarity. She had been given a Bible before from a foreigner but said she didn’t understand it when she read it. As I started to explain the Gospel story and the love the Heavenly Father had for her, she got very emotional. Before the last coat of polish was dry on my nails, she had become a child of God. I’m not sure I’ve ever had a convert thank me as much as Meow did that day.
I’m not sure if these stories serve as a lesson to “take every opportunity to witness that God gives you” or to “take time to treat yourself to some self-care,” but either way, I hope it reminds you and encourages you, as it has me, not to waste any opportunity the Lord puts in our paths to share His love and the Gospel.
Serving the Master joyfully,